Peers have so much power with our children. Young people who hang around together exert enormous influence on each other. It’s difficult not to go along with the group’s decisions. Peers so often take precedence over parents.
I asked a teenager in my Sunday class one day, “What have you been doing with yourself?”
“Oh, just hanging around”, was the reply.
“With whom?” I asked.
“Jamie and Karen and some other guys,” was the response.
“That’s not a good idea,” I said, knowing these particular young people were ungodly and always getting into trouble.
“But they like me, and they make me feel good,” objected my young friend.
“Only for a season-a little time,” I answered? “And they may get you into trouble.”
Romans 1:32 came to mind: “They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” My young friend needed to realize that he could well find himself encouraged to join his friends in sin. I also remembered Psalm 1:1 – and, knowing my teenager knew his friends well enough to understand, I shared it with him: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners.”
“But why not? he replied stubbornly. “I don’t do the things they do. I usually know what’s right or wrong.”
“One reason you should hang around with more positive peers is the advice you’ll get when an occasion arises where you don’t know what to do,” I answered. “What sort of advice do you think you’ll get from ungodly folk? They’ll probably provoke you into stepping over the line along with them. It’s better to make godly people your closest friends and hang around them! That’s the road to real, lasting happiness.”
Whether we’re teaching the faith to our own children or to other people’s children, we must make every effort to create opportunities for positive peers to hang around together. This way they will avoid many pitfalls and be encouraged in their faith.
On a personal note, my son recently got beaten up repeatedly by one of his friends on his legs at school. He told his aunt and uncle but wouldn’t tell me because he didn’t want to see his friend punished by his teacher. He was afraid of losing his friend. If we love somebody, we have to correct them by telling them that they are doing something wrong and eventually consequences have to be applied for discipline.
I and my family told my son to report the incident about the bullying to his teacher on numerous occasions. He refused to do so and I learnt recently that this same friend was now beating him on his belly for fun. As a protective mother, I made a wise decision to report the bullying incident to the teacher. The teacher will apply discipline and explain to this little boy that his behaviour is not acceptable. Let’s take action against bullying by taking a positive action. Let’s report it before it goes any further. Lots of kids die as a result of bullying. Let’s also bring awareness to our children and teach them that it is not acceptable, there are a lot of videos on the internet that bring awareness about bullying at school. Children need to be respected and they deserve to know that their worth will never be taken away when somebody treat them badly. God still considers them worthy and has a plan for their lives. It is important to talk about bullying with our children and to take action with the school as a deterrent and prevention.